The Thief of Secrets by Celma Ribeiro is journey of self discovery written in protagonist Marina's subjective time ... jumping from memories as early as 1979 when she was 12 or 13 to the present the present (1994). Marina is a lost soul, searching herself and the secret of Magellan - as a Brazilian, Magellan is an ancestral hero from a long-lost time of discovery and importance.
Marina's search begins at the most powerful moment of her life when she pulls the trigger on an old rifle and kills her mother's murderer. However, rather than being empowered by this act, she seems to give up her personal agency and, like a message in a bottle at sea (my metaphor), gives herself and her search up to the currents and winds. This search takes across the Atlantic between Brazil and Portugal and back, again and again.
With her mother gone, Marina is raised by her grandmother and the witches net door. These few women in her life offer some comfort, but little support or direction.
Direction in particular is left to a group of men, men who know each other, and appear at unexpected moments and for unknown reasons, during Marina's journey. These men all seems to have unexplainable power over her, both in the physical world directing her movements, and in the mental world, overwhelming her thoughts. Oddly, their direction has more to do with Magellan than with Marina.
Though Marina's voyage is sometimes confusing and often frustrating, I found her to be a sympathetic and engaging character, and in a captivating way, this book was a page turner.
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway on September 23, 2013. I received the book on September 26, 2013.
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